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November 16, 2020 - 2:36pm

'Practical magic' that 'over-wows': The tale of how the city's new Little Free Pantry and 'Freege' came to be

From Marianne Skye, director and yoga teacher at Blue Pearl Yoga:

What’s a Little Free Pantry and Freege?

A place and a way for people to share what they have, and to take what they need with dignity, without income guidelines, and without judgement. Everyone is encouraged to give and take.

It is located at 180 Washington Ave. in the City of Batavia, open 24/7. And they are having a food drive!

How did it come to be?

A whole lot of coincidences in a row that added up to this! Interesting story. It started with the Blue Pearl Yogo Studio shutdown in March. Around the studio we call it practical magic, lol.

My friend Tom (of Ryan’s Rose Organic Farm) and I have been playing music and gardening for years.

I always thought it would be nice if I had the time to overplant the vegetable garden and find a food pantry to donate farm-to-table.

So with nothing to do in Spring, a football-field size garden was tilled up and planted. 

Not that I knew a little pantry to donate to yet. But empty bellies are everywhere.

Just when the veggies started coming. ... (Oh those zucchinis!)

I got a call from the sweetest lady on State Street about doing yoga at community event. We’ll call her Jenn, she tries to stay anonymous, good luck with that.   

And the conversation quickly turned to gardening (tree huggers and dirt worshipers are like that) and a little food pantry she started in her front yard, just to connect with her neighbors and lend a hand.

Jenn’s family member gave her the idea, she ran with it, and the veggies showed up right on schedule as did donations of nonperishable food from friends and neighbors.

Beacon of Hope Amid Growing Food Insecurity

You see, food insecurity has become an even bigger problem in this coronavirus pandemic. The idea for the Little Free Pantry and Freege is to be a beacon of hope in these trying times.

The Pantry operates with this philosophy in hopes, not only to fight food insecurity, but also help reduce food waste, sharing our resources wisely, as almost half the food in America goes to waste.

Then mid-growing season, I saw a piece on the news about “Community Refrigerators,” a way for people to share what they have, where everyone is encouraged to give and take.

Jenn was all for it; my neighbors Cindy and Mo on the Southside were all about it; and within a week they had a donated fridge for us and offered to move it. Then Sharon Kubiniec heard that the "Freege" needed a home (I think from Julie W. who coordinates the Community Closet at Robert Morris School.) and offered to give it a home.

More People Pitch In

Then the Just Kings showed up to build a structure around the fridge, and Brian from T-Shirts Etc. showed up to do some art work on the structure, Ashley from CASA, City Church, St Anthony’s, Sharon and Laurie of Schwab Farm are pitched in, so there you have it.

The Little Free Pantry and Community Freege is located to the side of dentist Michael A. Kubiniec’s office (180 Washington Ave.) and is accessible 24 hours a day, all year round. It is stocked with both fresh and frozen food including produce, meats and dairy items.

How do you like them apples? I love this city, it’s so full of neighborly love, and so full of folks who love to get together and have a blast lending a hand to their neighbors! 

I am over-wowed at the adventure and fun this has been and for the good things and good people that came together.

Take care, Marianne 

For any questions or to volunteer feel free to message the page @https://m.facebook.com/lfpbatavia/

Photos courtesy of Blue Pearl Yoga.

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